It’s commonly understood that people, well, most people, are social creatures. Of course, the degree varies from person to person and even within that, the preferences and “social meters” of each individual shifts and changes through the years.
Pretty basic, right?
The objective of this blog, however, is more than just to prove that being social is in our DNA, it is to provide actionable recommendations on how we can maintain relationships, particularly with those colleagues, in these “virtual times.”
The Rise of Remote Working in Post-Pandemic Times
Let’s start with providing context. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant changes in the business world has had a significant impact on the working structures of most organizations. According to some sources, 82 percent of businesses are adopting work from home structures. It’s quite a unique (and in some cases, challenging) situation. I can say that with surety as I’m speaking from experience.
Having started working at Intelex just at the beginning of the quarantine phase, I not only onboarded remotely but also have been working virtually from day one. While this has definitely been a first in my experience, it wasn’t as challenging as one would imagine. The reason for that is that Intelex had implemented key web-based tools to eliminate the need to be connected to the network and to allow for online collaboration. For this reason, I’ve been able to develop and grow relationships with people I interact with via the numerous tools put in place – everything from video conferencing software to online collaboration tools to email.
My personal experience aside, experts have developed methods and practices to foster these relationships while working remotely. My mission here is to share the four that stand out.
Four Key Methods to Building and Strengthening “Virtual” Relationships with Colleagues
Here are some easy-to-adopt and quick-to-start tips that experts have recommended:
1. Make it a Priority
Despite our busy schedules, it’s important to carve out some time for colleagues. This can include anything from scheduling virtual Friday hangouts to coffee sessions or even viewing or listening parties.
I should note that it doesn’t always have to be “a concrete plan.” Making sure that you allow time to exchange pleasantries at the beginning or end of a meeting or a simple “hello” via messenger or email can often do the trick.
2. Be Empathic and Personable
With anxiety and stress levels being high due to COVID-19, showing support and empathy can foster meaningful relationships. As such, “communicating from an empathetic space allows for enhanced personability.”
On top of that, sharing experiences, challenges and interests can also go a long way. As most of us can attest to, some of the best conversations we have had is with our co-workers at some point in time.
3. Know Your Audience When Sending Written Communications
If you take the time to look at your written communications from the perspective of the reader, you may find opportunities to connect, opportunities to help each other or opportunities to collaborate. All it takes is to add that additional step.
4. Engage with Colleagues via Professional Social Channels
LinkedIn is the perfect way to engage with colleagues by sharing articles, commenting on updates or articles that they share and potentially joining groups that they have joined. In addition, providing recommendations is always a good way to promote each other’s accomplishments.
How Soon is Now?
Given how simple and low commitment these recommendations are, we really have no excuse not to practice or follow these, do we? After all, when it comes to what is valuable in your work experience, what you learn from teammates and the support system you can find in them can be of great value to you not only today, but in the years to come.